Knight’s Boxing Day boost

PJ Gidlow palms off Moseley's Sam Brown.
PJ Gidlow palms off Moseley's Sam Brown.
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DIRECTOR of rugby Brett Davey has welcomed back PJ Gidlow and Alex Brown into the Knights fold for the visit of Leeds Carnegie on Boxing Day (2.30pm).

Both men will start after shaking off ankle injuries to boost Davey’s depleted ranks.

Gidlow and Brown’s returns will allow David McIlwaine to revert to his preferred position of full back.

Mike Whitehead and Tom Luke remain on the sidelines meaning Fred Burdon will switch to fly half after impressing a centre since his arrival last month.

The Knights are looking to complete the treble over Carnegie after victories in both the Championship and British and Irish Cup earlier this season.

But Carnegie have improved greatly since then, giving rise to a strong possibility of a Boxing Day cracker at Castle Park.

Leeds’ US international prop Mike MacDonald is set to make his 100th league appearance when he leads his side out.

Scott Freer will come in at hooker for Leeds to replace Andy Titterrell who had joined Premiership side Sale on loan while two players who moved in the opposite direction, Will Cliff and Jordan Davies, are among the replacements.

Centre Joe Barker has been ruled out with a groin injury with Scott Barrow replacing.

Knights team to face Leeds: 15 David McIlwaine, 14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 Oli Goss, 12 PJ Gidlow, 11 Michael Keating, 10 Fred Burdon, 9 Chris Hallam, 1 Tom Davies, 2 Steve Boden, 3 Alex Brown, 4 Matt Challinor, 5 Dominic Parsons, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Zack Farivaarz, 8 Chris Planchant.

Replacements: 16 Royce Burke-Flynn, 17 Jack Yeandle, 18 Glen Kenworthy, 19 Andy Boyde, 20 Michael Noone, 21 Ben Toft, 22 Michael Bateman.

Leeds: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Iain Thornley, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Pete Lucock, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Craig Hampson, 1 Mike MacDonald, 2 Scott Freer, 3 Kane Palma-Newport, 4 Dan Hemingway, 5 Sean Hohneck, 6 Ryan Burrows, 7 Jacob Rowan, 8 Danny Paul.

Replacements: 16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Sam Lockwood, 18 Mo Mustafa, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Richard Beck, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Jordan Davies.